As the world worries endlessly about oil supplies, there’s another resource we should be caring much more about: clean water. It’s increasingly in short supply (and not just in the Third World) because corporate entities are speedily privatizing what was once a common resource. That’s just one of the warnings sounded in FLOW: For the Love of Water, which is being screened by the Santa Ynez Valley Film Group and W.E. Watch at the Los Olivos Grange Hall on Saturday, October 18, at 6:45 p.m. Here are five reasons to check it out:
1) “There’s a comet coming at us, and it’s called water shortage”: Experts agree that the world’s clean drinking water supplies are dwindling. Major rivers, such as the Nile, Colorado, and Yellow no longer reach the ocean-which was once their end destination. Yet populations keep growing, and we keep building.
2) “We are becoming experiments for these synthetic chemicals”: Prozac-laced fish in Texas lakes are just one example of chemical contamination. And then there are pesticides like Atrazine, which has been banned in Europe and elsewhere for causing reproductive and cancerous harm, which is still being sprayed in the United States.
3) A once cheap resource is now for sale: In Bolivia, South Africa, India, and elsewhere, multinational corporations are buying up water supplies and reselling it at unaffordable rates to villagers. This sort of privatization is also happening in Michigan, where Nestle is sucking water out of the ground and negatively affecting the water tables. No wonder, though, because water is now a $400 billion industry, the third largest in the world.
4) Damn the dams: Building massive dams may not be the best way to get water to most people, but because they’re funded by the World Bank, they continue to be built. The World Bank, said one water watcher, “is good at spending $1 billion in one place, but not at spending $1,000 in one million places.” And that’s usually the solution required.
5) Americans aren’t safe: Even here in the United States, anywhere between 500,000 and seven million people get sick from drinking tap water each year, but there are no records being kept. Meanwhile, there is less oversight on bottled water than tap water.